Judge stipulates state can’t enforce portions of new immigration bill

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn yesterday ruled on lawsuits filed by a coalition of civil rights groups and individuals seeking to block the state’s new illegal immigration law, temporarily.

Blackburn ruled the state:

• can’t bar illegal immigrants from enrolling in public universities.

• can’t enforce two new traffic laws, which would have set up $500 fines for blocking traffic to hire workers on a street.

• can’t stop an “unauthorized alien” from seeking work as an employee or independent contractor.

• can’t prosecute those who assist unauthorized aliens. She blocked a large section that would make it against the law to conceal, harbor, transport or encourage an illegal alien to stay in Alabama. This includes portions of the law referring to landlords.

• can’t stop businesses from deducting the wages they pay to unauthorized aliens from their state taxes.

• can’t create a new protected class of workers. The new law would have allowed workers who were fired or not hired in favor of unauthorized aliens to sue employers for discrimination.

Similar laws in Arizona and Georgia had been blocked by other federal judges, but in her 115-page order, Blackburn disagreed with those rulings and determined Congress has not prevented states from playing a role in immigration enforcement.